Too many people believe that their resume and skills alone are enough to ace the job interview. But the hiring process is actually a lot more subjective than you think.
I spent over five years working in human resources and recruitment before becoming a CEO and starting Workhap, my career coaching business that has helped thousands of people land high-paying jobs.
And here’s the hard truth about who really gets hired: It’s often less about your experience, and more about how you make the hiring manager feel during — and after — the interview.
The personal compatibility and connection you build can make or break your chances. So if you constantly get interviews but no job offers, here’s my best advice:
1. Don’t treat the job interview like a job interview.
Yes, you should take the meeting seriously and be professional. But remember that job interviews can be stressful for employers, too. To make it easier on the both of you, focus on developing a good rapport.
Employers want someone who can do the job, but they also want a team member who makes them feel comfortable. Ultimately, they’d rather go with someone they think they’d enjoy being around for eight hours a day over a candidate with more experience.
To lessen your nerves, try to see the interview as a regular everyday interaction, like you’re talking to a new friend. Find the balance between feeling confident and feeling arrogant.
2. Don’t go for boilerplate answers.
Not all interviews start with “Tell me about yourself.” Lots of them begin with “How’s your day going?” or “How are you?” This is your chance to showcase your personality.
Most people will respond with a nod and say “I’m doing well, thank you.” But I encourage you to really share about your day. Maybe you hit the gym this morning and are preparing for your first marathon. Or you just listened to an informative podcast you enjoyed (bonus points: send them the link after the interview; it will make you more memorable!).
How you speak matters, too. If you emit positivity and enthusiasm, that good energy will transfer over to the interviewer. This is often the secret sauce to standing out.
3. Don’t underestimate the power of a ‘thank you’ note.
Always send a “thank you” email after the interview, ideally the day of or the following day. Keep it positive and brief: Remind them of what you discussed and reiterate your interest in the role.
If you’re struggling to come up with something, refer back to the job description. Look at the key terms in the responsibilities and required skills section, and weave them into your note organically.
Here’s an example template that has worked for many of my clients:
“Hi [hiring manager’s name],
Thank you so much for your time earlier today. I learned so much about [X company], and I’m excited to see where you and the team take [X project you talked about] next!
As I mentioned, I believe my background from [X previous jobs] and [X skills] will be valuable to this role because [X reasons]. I look forward to continuing the conversation with your team.
Let me know you have more questions for me. Again, I appreciate your time and consideration!
This gesture personalizes your interaction with the hiring manager. Not only does it show your appreciation for the opportunity, but it also reinforces your interest in the job and company.
Sho Dewan is the founder and CEO of Workhap, where he has helped thousands of people land their dream jobs. He’s been recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice for job search and careers and posts career advice daily on LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
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